By Claire Egan
Public servant Matthew Bullock is wheeling himself around for 24 hours today to raise much needed funds for the Wheelchair Sports Association WA.
Matthew, from the Department of Transport, is involved in drafting policy that affects people in wheelchairs and says the Challenge will help him gain a better awareness of the issues facing disabled people and enable him to do his job better.
“I want to get a better insight into the needs and issues facing people in wheelchairs, part of my role is involved in that. Taxis also service people with disabilities so I get a better understanding about those needs and issues but also to raise money for the Wheelchair Sports Association,” says Matthew.
“This morning I set a $700 target and I had about $450 already so I thought I had better up that target to $1000. I’m now up to $600 but we are doing a bit of a splash on the internal website so even after I get out of the chair I can still fundraise so hopefully I will be well over the target.”
Mathew says it’s more difficult than he expected and didn’t realise the physical side effects of the challenge.
“It was challenging getting out of the train station at Claisebrook, going to lunch down the street, negotiating getting to the office toilet, through the confines of halls and corridors and then my body responding to those needs, my arms are killing me.”
“Getting out of the train there was a lip in the platform and I had to actually get lifted out of that which was a bit of challenge at rush hour. Thankfully people helped me out and I didn’t exactly want to step out of the wheelchair anyway as it probably gives the wrong message.”
Charlie Maughan, the Community Development Officer at the Wheelchair Sports Association WA, says the charity came up with the initiative due to a loss in significant funding last year.
“The main idea of it is spending 24 hours of your life in a wheelchair. The community and corporate participants have slightly different fundraising targets but the concept is still the same,” says Mr Maughan.
“So far we have raised just shy of $30,000 for this year, last year we managed to raise over $100,000 so we are looking to one up that this year.”
Mr Maughan says they want to make sure everyone, regardless of age and disability, has an opportunity to participate in sport, recreation and social activities.
“Our main mission and value, as a charity, is to look to improve the wellbeing, both physical and mental, of people living with a physical disability. We see engagement via sporting, recreation and social activities as a great method for doing that.”
The Wheelchair Sports Association WA also arranges wheelchair drop off and pickup for participants.
“We help all the participants with their fundraising, whether it be setting up their Everyday Hero account or with the emails they send out for support. We take care of the operations side – all that we need are people who are up for a challenge and up for doing something different.”
The Wheelchair Challenge runs until the first week of December.
If you would like to participate please visit the Wheelchair Sports Association WA website.